Brendan Rodgers explained Chelsea target Wesley Fofana was "not in the right frame of mind to play" after leaving the defender out for Leicester City's 2-1 Premier League defeat to Southampton.
Chelsea have been strongly linked with a move for Fofana since missing out on Jules Kounde to Barcelona last month, with the Blues reportedly seeing several advances for the 21-year-old rebuffed.
Leicester manager Rodgers insisted Fofana was not for sale as recently as Friday's pre-match news conference, but he shifted to a back four on Saturday and left out the centre-back as Daniel Amartey started alongside Jonny Evans as a Che Adams double fired Southampton to a comeback win.
Speaking after Leicester slipped to just their second defeat in 11 home Premier League matches, Rodgers revealed his concerns about Fofana's state of mind.
"In terms of Wesley, it was a young player who is not in the right frame of mind to play at the moment," he said.
"There's a lot going on behind the scenes, which I understand. It's a difficult moment for him. He's a good kid who has been great for us while he's been here.
"You can't afford to be around your team-mates and playing a Premier League game if you're not fully focused."
Youri Tielemans, who has also been linked with a move away from the King Power Stadium, was only introduced as a 65th-minute substitute, but Rodgers claimed that was a purely strategic decision.
"Youri, it was a tactical one really," Rodgers added. "The two eights had done really well. James [Maddison] scored again. Ki [Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall] played well in the game. That's why he was on the bench."
Leicester fell to a demoralising defeat after opening the scoring through Maddison's free-kick, meaning only opponents Southampton (32) have dropped more points from winning positions in the Premier League than the Foxes (26) since the start of last season.
And Rodgers admitted the negative atmosphere surrounding the club has impacted their ability to hang on to leads.
"I think it's a number of things. It's a bit of desperation," he added. "We played well for the first hour of the games here at home, and then we become a little bit anxious and desperate to get the three points.
"Maybe it's a case of the feeling around the club. We have to forget the noise and focus.
"We haven't got the results in the two home games; we played well enough to. We've got to sustain it. We've got to turn 60 minutes into 90 minutes. I'm pretty confident these players will do that."